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  • 1.
    Alder, Magnus
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economic Information Systems.
    Peterson, Jimmy
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economic Information Systems.
    Enhanced knowledge utilization for increased project efficiency: A study of knowledge management in a project environment at Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery2010Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    In the prevailing uncertain and ever-changing business environment knowledge has become the single certain source for sustainable competitive advantage. Learning from past mistakes and avoiding reinventing the wheel are crucial tasks and no organization can today afford not to look for ways to make the best use of its knowledge. With Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB (SIT) being an actor in a complex and high-technology industry managing and leveraging the organization’s knowledge becomes essential. It came to the authors’ attention that the project manager department (GL) within the gas division of SIT experienced a need for improved processes for managing and utilizing the organization’s knowledge-base.

    On the first of January 2010 Siemens carried out a major reorganization, which affected SIT and the GL department by merging two previously separate departments of project managers into one unit. With efforts underway to harmonize the two department’s former working methods the situation implies timeliness for conducting a study on how to improve the company’s knowledge management initiative. This master thesis hence evolved to focus on examining and point out the improvement opportunities that exist with regards to knowledge sharing between projects, and between projects and the organization, and how tools and processes should be designed to collect, preserve, disseminate and reuse experiences, knowledge and lessons learned within a project-based organization in the best possible way.

    The research approach of the study was of a qualitative character including interviews with the 16 project managers of GL and other key employees both at SIT and at Siemens Oil & Gas division’s new CS and IP business units. Combined with meeting participation and observations of the project managers in their daily operations an increased understanding of the current situation at SIT and GL emerged; an understanding needed to identify the reasons and factors affecting the low degree of retention and utilization of the organization’s knowledge-base; an understanding leading up to the development of a model highlighting the important aspects for successful knowledge management initiatives, and how these aspects correlate.

    In order to improve the knowledge utilization a continuous lessons learned gathering throughout the project life-cycle needs to be implemented. This is primarily achieved through collecting lessons learned at the regular project meetings together with special lessons learned workshops. The collection and reutilization of knowledge hence needs to be integrated with the project management process. Improving the different forums available for knowledge sharing is also needed to enable an increased level of transformation of human capital into structural capital; augmenting the organization’s knowledge-base. Providing forums for knowledge sharing together with a visualized management support through actions, feedback and the introduction of a culture aimed at organizational learning further enhance the retention and utilization of the organization’s knowledge-base.

    Although the approach of this study is based on a case study of the SIT organization the conclusions are regarded to be of value for other project-based organizations and thus rending the conclusions to be generalized and used within other lines of business. The generic conclusion of this study is that in order to implement a successful knowledge management initiative all factors of the model need to be considered and attended too.

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